Help Desk

Human advice for the post-human world

Help Desk

:( Help!

I've been seeing a guy for almost two months while I've been in and out of town. Maybe six or seven dates total. We met on Tinder. I'm starting to really like him.

Tinder has this ill-advised feature where you can see when your match last used the app. Whenever I check on him (which is often; I'm kinda OCD), his profile says he's been online in the past hour or two.

WTF! In person, he seems like such a solid, promising dude. Then an hour after he rolls out of my bed in the morning he's cruising for hookups again?! Should I confront him? I don't want to rush a commitment conversation and freak him out, but this seems egregious.

– Single Woman in Pflugerville Experiencing Distrust


Online dating works wonders in terms of bringing people together. But as for keeping them together – well, that still hasn't been perfected, perhaps because it doesn't help the bottom line of apps like Tinder, which need as many active users as possible. That feature notifying you when your friend last logged in may seem like it's designed to make you miserable, SWIPED. But to Tinder's architects, it may serve a different purpose: to give you permission to start playing the field again. After all, if he's still swiping, maybe you should too.

If you're trying to find your way into a more committed relationship – and it seems from your letter that you are – you'll want to break that cycle sooner or later. You're right to consider speaking up about your need or preference for exclusivity. (For younger readers who only started dating after the rise of apps like Tinder, an "exclusive relationship" is a form of dating, rapidly becoming archaic, in which partners agree not to swipe right with anyone but each other.)

We can't predict whether or not you'll freak him out by talking about commitment, but we can advise that you consider what's best for you, not how he'll react. Take heart that this part of your conundrum is nothing new. Human beings in their first few months of dating have been having emotionally fraught conversations about commitment for eons. We see no meaningful difference between the conversation you're inching toward and that age-old conversation about sexual and romantic boundaries.

If your intimacy is now at a point where he would be abusing your trust by dating other women, by all means, speak up. On the other hand, if you suspect you just need to relax and make sure your "kinda OCD" tendencies (read: control issues) aren't getting ahead of your situation, find some restraint and stop checking his Tinder profile.

And hey, there's always the chance that he's in the same boat as you – logging in often, but mostly to see if you've been active lately. There'd be a lesson in that, if a crisis of distrust were averted simply by keeping that poison pill of online-dating relationships, the "last active" feature, out of sight and out of mind. :) HD


Send your technology-related pleas for help to helpdesk@austinchronicle.com.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Help Desk
Help Desk
Help Desk
A drunken violation of digital privacy and how to minimize the damage

Michael Agresta, March 27, 2015

Help Desk
Help Desk
How to interact at SXSW Interactive

Michael Agresta, March 13, 2015

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Help Desk, tech etiquette, Tinder, internet dating

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle